Latest Entries
Next Live Show: Dr. Ashwin Vasan

Next Live Show: Dr. Ashwin Vasan

We’re pleased to welcome our fifth health commissioner, the city’s 44th.  Born in Brooklyn, he trained at Harvard, Michigan, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He’s practiced as a primary care physician and worked with NGOs on global health initiatives, always guided by this precept: public health must be a force for social justice. Music: … Continue reading »


412: Mary Norris

When Homer refers to the “wine-dark sea,” does he mean red, white, or rosé? He intends no color whatever, asserts the author of Greek to Me, who offers an ingenious alternative. Wine and the Greeks: in the ancient world, the modern world, the world of mythology. Presented with The Neal Rosenthal Group.  Music: Avram Pengas. Continue reading »

Science & Medicine

409: Gernot Wagner

This climate economist is surprisingly optimistic about onrushing environmental catastrophe. “Things are dire, yes, but things are moving much much faster in the positive direction than anyone would have imagined five, ten years ago.” A ray of hope! “Now, is it fast enough? No.” A ray of gloom. Produced with the New-York Historical Society’s Climate … Continue reading »


408: Robin Nagle

“It’s grand, it’s palatial, it’s beautiful,” says the anthropologist-in-residence for the NY Department of Sanitation about a garage.  She is happy in her work. A scholar looks at what we throw away and what it says about us. Presented with the Sanitation Foundation.  Music: John Sherman. Photo: Harry Wilks. Continue reading »


407: J. J. Sedelmaier

This animator—you don’t know his name, but you know his work for MTV and SNL—is fascinated by Samuel Insull, Thomas Edison’s former assistant, who brought electricity to Chicago, achieved global fame, and whose name you (and I) also didn’t know. “There’s no reason he shouldn’t be up there with Carnegie and J. P. Morgan.” Music: … Continue reading »


406: Tod Machover

This composer, much admired for his operas, contemplates a happy dichotomy: “These two places are perfectly balanced for the kind of work I do and the kind of life I lead.” Heaven and Hell? New York and Texas? No! His old-fashioned barn-studio and the newfangled MIT Media Lab. Technology, music, and more. Continue reading »


404: Peter Dugan and Charles Yang

As music students, they were sequestered in Juilliard’s fourth-floor rehearsal rooms. “The fourth floor is all dungeony and without sunlight,” says pianist Dugan. “It’s one of the worst, most magical places ever,” says violinist Yang. Today they have flourishing careers among other human beings. That’s the magic. A conversation at the Kaufman Music Center with … Continue reading »